David Tallichet built his life around a successful chain of restaurants becoming one of the first pioneers of the industry to offer “themed” dining experiences. His many restaurants included immersive experiences in Polynesian themed restaurants, as well as a number of dining spots that were an offshoot of his other passion: collecting and restoring vintage aircraft. His love of planes developed during his service in the Second World War, where he was a member of the 350th Bombardment Unit, a subset of the 100th Bombardment Group in the United States Air Force.
Tallichet joined the Air Force after the war broke out, after trying out not one but three universities. For all of his studying, he knew he hadn’t found his niche, and the thrill of serving his country was calling out to him. He enlisted in the army and was deployed to Europe, flying overseas as the copilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, a heavy duty aircraft with an immense wingspan and capacity for destruction. After piloting over 20 missions during the course of the war, Tallichet still hadn’t had his fill of flying, and he stayed on to aid in the recovery efforts in Europe. Though he spent the next 10 years as part of the New Mexico Air National Guard, he knew he wasn’t cut out for a long term military career. Tallichet left the reserves to begin building his restaurant empire, but his love of planes never fully left his system.
In the 1960s, Tallichet began using the income he earned from his budding empire to begin collecting vintage aircraft, which he not only put effort into restoring, but would often fly himself, just for fun. As his collection expanded, so too did his adventures. In order to recover aircraft, Tallichet would often seek out planes that had been grounded as the result of various battles. He also expanded his collection into a full blown business, building and selling replicas of old planes, many of which were used in Hollywood films. But there was one legend he couldn’t shake from his mind, and eventually Tallichet would set off to the wilderness of Papua New Guinea in order to seek the truth. What he found lurking within the jungle would change the course of history.